DIY Design: Bang For Your Buck

7 things that make the greatest impact on your interior design.

It's that time of year again. You're coming down from the holidays. The decorations come off the walls and you think, "hm, this space needs reorganizing." Or it needs a fresh coat of paint, or a new couch, or a recent photo hung on the wall... you get my point. 

BUT, you don't have enough money! It's a conundrum that I hear from friends all the time. Have no fear, there's a solution: GET THE MOST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK.

First let me say, it's great that you're looking at your home with a critical eye. It's a fact of life that you bring home more and more stuff every year. It keeps coming in but how much of it goes out?? If you don't reassess your space every year or two, there will be piles of stuff everywhere! And you know I'm not just being dramatic, this is a real issue.

So, pat yourself on the back for starting this train of thought. Now you need a plan. To figure out what you need (or need to get rid of), take a few measurements and make a little sketch. I give step by step instructions in this post: Where to Put Furniture.

Now, because I love you, here's a downloadable spreadsheet to help figure how much bang you can get for your buck. This is the exact spreadsheet that I use for my clients. I'm giving you the good stuff here! (Click the button below and download will begin.)

WORK BACKWARDS. Keep a close eye on that grand total and begin to plug stuff in. Here are the changes you should consider, in order from greatest bang for your buck to least:

Ashley's Guide To Interior Design On A Budget

1. Reorganize

Chances are that you have everything you need and more already in your house! Go through all your stuff and figure out what you truly want to keep. I'm serious, go through all the closets and all the rooms! Pick things out of dark corners and out from under beds. It's very likely that you have too much stuff. Donate some stuff, repurpose some stuff, you can even give some stuff away as gifts!

In your searching, if you find something you forgot about but totally love, that's awesome! Now you actually have space to use that wonderful thing.

2. Paint The Walls

You can quickly flip the mood of a room by painting walls, ESPECIALLY if your walls are currently stark white. Add the right buttery yellow or fiery red and suddenly your room becomes comfortable and stylish. Luckily, I wrote another guide to help you choose colors: How to Choose Wall Colors.

3. Curtains or Window Shades

These cover the second biggest area (after wall paint) and can be relatively affordable. Check Ikea and Target for the best bang for your buck.

4. Wall Art

Frame and hang your favorite photos from last year. Finally put up that awesome oil painting stuck in the attic. Or venture out and buy something new. Wall art covers the third largest area of your space. PLUS, it represents your style and personality more than anything else in the room.

5. Furniture

Crazy that furniture is number 5 on the list because it's usually the first thing people replace when they want a fresh look. Furniture is flexible! You can refurbish it or replace it. You can move it to a new room or just a new corner of the same room.

That being said, furniture defines the utility of a space. Is there enough seating for your family gatherings? Is the bed big enough for your growing child? Could you use more storage space under the bed? Consider replacing or adding furniture if your current setup does not meet the needs of the room.

6. Add Greenery

Potted trees and plants make a space feel alive. If you can keep real plants alive long enough to become decor, have at it. But if you're out of town a lot, don't get much natural light, or just don't want to take care of another living thing, get fake plants! You can get them online or buy them in person at Ikea. 

Think of the space before buying the plant. The plant should fit nicely in a corner or on a shelf. Should it be tall or short, fat or skinny, tropical or evergreen?

7. Rugs!

Floor art (aka rugs) also cover a huge swath of the room. Are you sensing a trend here? A withered, threadbare rug not only looks dingy but it feels gross under the feet. Give your room a luxurious feel with a beautiful new rug. 

Consider your climate. If it gets super cold get something plush, if you live in a dessert opt for something like jute, firm but comfortable.

Use it to define a space. Rugs are fantastic for separating a large room into smaller pieces. Use runners in hallways, area rugs in living rooms, and welcome mats where you take off coats and shoes.

Have Fun With It!

I don't want to get all touchy feely, but this should be fun. You're choosing a new look to represent your personality and your home. Take your time (it's fine if this takes months!) and only shop or reorganize when you're in the mood to be productive.

OR! If all of this just feels too much like work, contact me. In a very short amount of time, we can establish a plan and I can point you in the right direction. This doesn't have to be hard!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! Sending lots of love to you all.